Sticking With the Best Alpha Generators

Barron’s profiles Dan Wiener, who runs The Independent Adviser newsletter , founded the firm Adviser Investments, and was ranked number 69 on Barron’s list of the top independent investment advisers. Wiener, whose newsletter focuses primarily on Vanguard, says “I think what people have lost sight of is: You have access to some of the best investors in the world through a mutual fund. According to Barron’s, his firm’s typical portfolio has eight to nine mutual funds, usually a third from Vanguard, a third from Fidelity, and a third from other firms.” In selecting the funds, Wiener focuses on the best active managers. He acknowledges that the average active manager probably underperforms the indexes, but says: “we don’t buy the average manager. We buy the best managers. People say you can’t find them. But, yeah, you can.” His firm creates custom benchmarks that allow studying the long-term performance of a manager before investing.  A moderate portfolio with Adviser Investments typically has 76% stocks, 22% bonds, and 2% cash. Wiener is “long-term bullish on equities.” While he says “I don’t think uncertainty is going away anytime soon,” but says in such times “you have to bring it back to two things: earnings and interest rates.” Further, he says “there isn’t some major thing going on out there that’s a black cloud. Right now, it’s just people are anxious,” suggesting that “they forget we have gone from March 2009 to the beginning of 2015 – and the market has been up 180%.”